Questions to Ask When Considering Weight Loss Surgery

The idea of having a surgery to help reduce weight holds a lot of appeal for people suffering from obesity. And surgery has often worked out where other conservative techniques of weight loss like exercise and diets have failed.

But obesity surgery by itself is not a magic wand. It can be considered a very effective tool for you to lose weight. It is very important to have complete knowledge of and realistic expectations from bariatric surgery. Hence, we have compiled a list of questions that you can ask your doctor or health professional before deciding on weight loss surgery:

Why should I go for weight loss surgery?

No doctor will usually suggest weight loss surgery as the first option. If he or she does, then it should ring alarm bells. If you have a BMI more than or equal to 35 with obesity-related conditions, you can be a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Can bariatric surgery be performed in a minimally invasive way?

Yes, minimally invasive weight loss surgery is possible. And it carries many benefits to the patient like less pain, speedier recovery, etc. But be it open or laparoscopic surgery, certain risks remain. Also, some patients, like morbidly obese patients, may not be considered eligible candidates for laparoscopic surgery.

What are the risks involved?

Be it lap band, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or duodenal switch surgery, they all come with risks and possible complications. A clear understanding is a must before deciding on surgery.

How quickly will I lose weight and will I put the weight back on again?

Patients lose weight rapidly up to two years after surgery. But if you eat deep-fried or high-calorie foods or eat more than you are supposed to, the weight can come back.

I have some health conditions related to my obesity. Will surgery still be an option for me?

You will be subjected to a detailed heart and lung evaluation before this question can be answered. Patients with obesity-related health conditions are advised to actually lose some weight before surgery.

Which weight loss surgery is best for me?

The lap band surgery is considered the safest among weight loss procedures, but it requires a high level of patient motivation and compliance for success. The Roux-en-Y surgery is most frequently performed and is advised for patients with a BMI of 35-55. The duodenal switch procedure has many possible complications but has long-term weight loss benefits. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the weight loss procedure that best suits you.

Will I have to change my lifestyle after the surgery?

Yes, drastically. As we said earlier in the article, weight loss surgery cannot work miracles for you if you don’t co-operate. Throughout your life after bariatric surgery, you will need to pay a lot of attention to what you eat and take nutritional supplements.

Will my mental state be checked prior to surgery?

Yes. You will be put through a psychological screening to see if you suffer from depression or other emotional conditions. If yes, you will need to address those problems before undergoing surgery.

How long will I be in surgery?

1-3 hours or 4-6 hours, if additional procedures are done.

How long will I have to stay in the hospital?

3 days, if everything works out normally. But, if complications develop, hospital stay can be a month or more.

What am I supposed to eat after the operation?

Liquid food is recommended for 2 weeks. You can then slowly graduate to regular food in the next three months. A healthy diet has to be followed according to the instructions of your nutritionist.

What is the recuperation period for weight loss surgery?

It could be 3 days or 6 weeks, depending on how active you were before surgery and what type of procedure you had. You can safely assume that you will need about 2-4 weeks off from work. Those who undergo lap band surgery get back to work within a week.

Do my family and friends also need to understand this surgery?

It’s good if they make an effort to understand the procedure as they can help you with the follow-up program.